4 Ways Sugar Affects Your Health
Through out my childhood my parents whom were well meaning and hard working had minimal time. They were unaware of the significance food made on over all health, especially mental health, although we did enjoy traditional home made meals, fast food was all too common and my mom stocked the kitchen with A LOT of processed foods. TV dinners, cereals, hot pockets, pizza, pop tarts, cookies, chips, candy, beverages like sunny delight and lots and LOTS of Coke… Get the picture? Yea… It was good times. You could imagine the terrible eating habits that followed for years.
Four major ways that affected me was growing up having a hard time grasping school lessons, focusing, often getting sick and battling with depression. This was a painful time for me because I couldn’t keep up. I had to work MUCH harder than other kids and I became insecure about my intelligence. I struggled with this throughout the rest of my school years and some of my adult years as well.
According to Nancy Appleton,
PhD, author of Lick the Sugar Habit, I can give you 145 reasons sugar harms your health, but I’ll just give you a brief summary of four.
Mental and emotional health
*Sugar can cause hyperactivity, anxiety, difficulty concentrating and irritability. It can cause a rapid rise of adrenaline levels taxing the adrenals eventually leading to drowsiness and decreased activity. Sugar can worsen (and in my opinion cause) the symptoms of children and adults with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
*Sugar leaches vitamins and minerals your body needs for proper brain function such as B vitamins needed for learning, cognitive thinking, coordination, and memory, mood and behavior.
*Refined sugar consumption suppresses brain-derived neurotrophic factor or BDNF, an important growth hormone in the brain. This growth hormone is extremely important for the health of neurons in the brain.
BDNF levels are critically low in both depression and schizophrenia.
*Sugar also triggers a cascade of chemical reactions in the body that promote chronic inflammation. Prolonged inflammation impairs the immune system, and wreaks havoc on the brain.
Over many years I’ve learned to nourish myself properly. My state of mind and emotional health is way different than it use to be. I can’t help but think… OMG!! How different would my life have been if I had the proper nourishment? What choices could I have had the clarity to make? What experiences could I have called forth because of that? How much pain could I have avoided?
I’ve learned to control my sweet tooth. It took a little time but I gotta tell you… I’m a serious foodie and I do not feel deprived. It’s like any other habit you learn to develop. I will say that the only difference is that sugar is chemically addictive so for a lot of us that requires a little extra work but it is absolutely do-able and the rewards are worth it. I’ve worked with clients on this and I feel them! It was a huge obstacle for me. The difficult part was learning to get to a place where I didn’t feel as if I was “fighting” it all the time. Now a days I have cravings from time to time and I have no problem entertaining them but I don’t feel like I am a complete slave to it… Another great thing is when I do entertain my sweet tooth I’ve learned to COMPLETELY be satisfied with healthy alternatives that are not only delicious but beneficial to my health.
Here is one of my favorite recipes.
Spiced Baked Apples with Nuts (all organic ingredients)
2 apples, peeled and cut into slices
2 tablespoons coconut oil
2 tablespoons sweetener of choice I recommend raw local honey or organic coconut sugar (Totally optional, I find that the apple alone is sweet enough)
½ cup pecans or walnuts (preferably soaked at least 8 hours and dried)
¼ cup raisins (optional)
Couple sprigs of mint (optional)
Heat oven to 375 degrees.
Toss apple chunks with other ingredients except for nuts
Place in a casserole dish and bake covered for about 35-45 minutes or until tender.
Top with nuts and bake 15 minutes more uncovered.
Once served sprinkle with diced mint leaves if desired
This is GREAT alone but if you want to jazz it up here are some ideas for what you can serve it with…
Whipped cream made from organic raw heavy cream, far more nutritious and DELICIOUS than pasteurized if you have access to it, if not I have used organic heavy cream or coconut cream.
I also serve it with homemade plain yogurt using organic raw milk or non-homogenized milk. When I can’t make my own I use organic plain Greek yogurt.
What are your experiences with sugar addiction? Have you tried to make a change yet? Please share below